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13.05.2015 Press Statement

Bring Back Our Allowance, Else We Will Not Go Back To School (ttag Declares Indefinite Strike).

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The teacher trainees Association of Ghana wishes to, for the last time reiterate its clarion call on the Mahama led government to as a matter of agency, and reinstate the scrapped teacher trainees' allowances due to the following reasons:

  1. Most parents cannot afford the cost of sponsoring their wards at the colleges of education as we speak.
  2. The withdrawal of allowances have driven away prospective competent teacher trainees, because the cost of acquiring diploma in colleges of education is much higher than other tertiary institutions.
  3. The current level 100 and 200 trainees have to vacate classes to search for money to foot unbearable bills. This impacts negatively on their training. They have to report late after school re-opens or at best, after registration, they go back home to work for their fees, and the repercussions of this on their training is negatively huge.
  4. No allowance for teacher trainees also means they cannot be posted to “wherever their services are needed”. They now have a choice to decide where they want to go. Remember “he who pays the piper calls in the tune”. The government has not pays the teacher and for that matter cannot dictate where the teacher should be posted to. Hence, the rural communities would continue to lack the professional teachers. This is what we as an association do not want to happen.
  5. Colleges of education are special schools that churn out professionals specifically for the basic schools. Teacher trainees are given special training, geared towards the intellectual up-bringing and social nurturing of these delicate promising pupils. It is expected that the government should be fair in its treatment of its citizens. This is because, there are comparable professional institutions such as the military training, the police training and nursing training that are receiving allowances. So the adage “what is good further goose is also good for the gander” must apply. Failure to heed to our call would result in a total boycott of the training institutions by our constituents when school resume on May 18, 2015. We have been compelled to take this drastic decision because we have exhausted all available avenues for the necessary redress but all in futility.

It is an indisputable fact that there has been innumerable calls on the government by several stakeholders including Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT). TTAG and other seasoned educationists to reconsider this unpopular move but surprisingly, the government remains belligerently intransigent.

It would indeed be recalled that we vociferously repeated same call for the reinstatement of the allowance at a recent press conference we organized on April 22, 2015 on a number of issues of grave concern to the association where the issue of the allowance featured more prominently. However, the government still pretends not to have heard us, not even to grant us audience. None of our petitions to this government has received a single reply. Perhaps we do not matter to them as recently fume by the ruling party's general secretary, Johnson Asiedu Nketia, who made the headline in the Daily statesman on Monday April 27, 2015 that “there is no need in paying teacher trainees allowance” and are renowned NDC communicator by name Mr. Gbovovi Godwin who described teacher trainees as “good for nothing students” on Angel FM Kumasi.

With strong vehemence, we contest government's rationalization of this unpopular policy on the claims of increase in enrollment and demand further and better statistical particulars to prove that. Assuming without admitting that government's claim are true, then that can only be one side of the coin, because the negative implications of this policy on the trainees are unquantifiable and for outweighs the perceived positives it brings to fore.

Unfortunately, governments alternative measure to cushion trainees in the wake of the withdrawal of the allowance does very little to help the situation. For instance, a teacher trainee receives maximum of GH₵800.00 in a whole academic year from the student loan trust fund, yet that same student is expected to pay between GH¢2,400.00 and GH¢3,000.00 on the average within a year. How can such a student survive in the face of this which is coupled with unbearable cost of living in the country? The least said about the inherent bureaucracies associated with securing the loan facility, the better. Government has shown very little commitment in paying trainees' feeding grant despite the assurance we were given. Principals are often compelled to charge trainees the cost of feeding since government refuse to pay on time.

As we speak, our investigations reveal that only 15% of the trainees in level 100 and 200 (those who are directly affected by the withdrawal of the allowance) have been able to pay their fees for the academic year in full, leaving the academic destiny of the remaining 85% in limbo. If they are unable to pay on time, they certainly would not be allowed to take their end of semester exams. How had can the situation get. No wonder the student now think that they better stay at home when school

re opens than report to campus and suffer this imminent embarrassment for no fault of theirs.

The woes of teacher trainees are further aggravated by governments purported move to review the current posting regime which will now see teachers from nations colleges of education searching for, after completion. Hmmm, what offense have teacher trainees committed to this government to warrant all these sufferings? So not only are we refused allowance but we are also threatened with possible job insecurity after completion. May God save us.

We wish to conclude by repeating our age long call on president John Dramani Mahma and the NDC government to heed to our demands by reinstating the allowance as soon as possible else face the wrath of the over 48,000.00 teacher trainees across he county. Not only are we refusing to go back to school, but will also rollout a number of public protestations until our demands are fully met.

Thank you.

Long live colleagues in student struggle
Long live the teacher trainee
Long live our mother Ghana
Aluta continual!! Victora Ascerta!!

Daniel Osei Kofi
National president

Abubakari Abdul Moomin
General secretary

Antwi karikari Patrick
Public relation manager

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